Lots of Web action for 'Die Hard'

Popular trailer sparks more blog interest than 'Spidey,' 'Pirates'

As the summer movie schedule kicks off this week, 20th Century Fox's "Live Free or Die Hard" could be the sleeper hit of the season if buzz in the blogosphere is any measure of successs.

According to a Nielsen BuzzMetrics report, the fourth installment of the "Die Hard" franchise, set for release June 27, had nearly twice as many blog mentions from Jan. 1-April 22 as "Spider-Man 3," its closet competitor in the metric. The film's blog popularity also dwarfs such big-budget summer movies as "Transformers," "Shrek the Third" and "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End."

One reason for the blog hype is the film's trailer, which has been widely rumored to be one of the highest-testing action trailers in Fox history. The clip was released April 3 exclusively on Yahoo! and the studio's international marketing group dropped the "Die Hard 4.0" version — how the film is known overseas — on YouTube shortly thereafter. From the two sites, the clip was widely disseminated over the Web by April 4, a few days before the trailer was shown in theaters.

"The online strategy really is tailored to the film," said Pam Levine, co-president of domestic theatrical marketing at Fox. "This is the first truly global premiere of a trailer across multiple sites."

She said the studio tried the strategy in part because the film is unlike many of the other big summer movies, which feature fantastical elements, a fact that might have struck a chord with the blogosphere.

"It confirms that there's a real hunger in the marketplace for a straightforward action movie without the gimmicks and CGI," Levine said.

Nielsen BuzzMetrics is owned by the Nielsen Co., parent company of The Hollywood Reporter.